Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/20/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws

We pray for our grandfathers, our grandmothers, who often have had a heroic role in the transmission of the faith in times of persecution. When mum and dad were not at home and also had strange idea, that the policies of that time taught, the grandmothers were the ones who passed on the faith.Today let us petition the old Saints - Simeone, Anna, Polycarp and Eleazar - so many old Saints: Let us ask for the grace to cherish, to listen to and venerate our elderly, our grandparents. (Pope Francis)

On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Pope Francis gave his regular homily at daily Mass for the faithful who gather at the Chapel called St Martha's House. The first reading, taken from the Old Testament, recounted the inspiring story from the Second Book of Maccabees concerning the heroic virtue of Eleazar,  a man of advanced age and noble appearance.

On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Pope Francis gave his regular homily at daily Mass for the faithful who gather at the Chapel called St Martha's House. The first reading, taken from the Old Testament, recounted the inspiring story from the Second Book of Maccabees concerning the heroic virtue of Eleazar, a man of advanced age and noble appearance.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/20/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: grandparents, elderly, Pope Francis, St Martha's House, saints, martyrs, Eleazar, King Antiochus, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Pope Francis gave his regular homily at daily Mass for the faithful who gather at the Chapel called St Martha's House. The first reading, taken from the Old Testament, recounted the inspiring story from the Second Book of Maccabees concerning the heroic virtue of Eleazar,  a "man of advanced age and noble appearance"

The events occurred during the brutal and bloody persecution against the Jewish people unleashed by King Antiochus. The temple was sacrilegiously consecrated to Zeus and profaned with decadent acts. The Jewish people were forbidden to celebrate the Sabbath and compelled by the pagan King to offer idolatrous sacrifices or face torture and death.

Eleazar was ninety years old, a scribe, and deeply respected, even by Jews who had succumbed to idolatry and became enforcers of the regime. They tried to help Eleazar, offering ways in which he could pretend to comply while technically not violating the Jewish law. They invited him to compromise. For example, he could pretend to be eating meat sacrificed to the emperor, they would substitute other meat, protect him and spare his life from death. He refused and stood strong as a witness.

Eleazar showed dedication to the Law of the Lord. He manifested the kind of holy courage which the Jewish people needed to witness to stand firm against sacrilege and for the truth. It en-couraged them to summon up what was needed to stay faithful. He was especially concerned that the young not be led astray by his actions.  He told those who offered to help him compromise in order to save his life:

At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense; many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar had gone over to an alien religion. Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life, they would be led astray by me, while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age. Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws. (2 MC 6:18-31)

Pope Francis is at heart a pastor. His daily homilies demonstrate this fact. He breaks open the text presented in the readings of the day and then applies it to daily life. It has taken some time for many in the media, and in some church circles, to get used to the seemingly spontaneous style. I love it. Some refer to his daily homily as a ferverino. The Italian word refers to a short sermon or reflection which is meant to confirm and strengthen the faith of those who hear it.

He used the story to call for a rediscovery of the indispensable role of grandparents and the elderly in the transmission of the faith. In fact, he called for old saints, men and women of later years who live heroic virtue. A summary of his homily entitled  A nation that does not respect grandparents, has no future, because it has no memory  was offered by the Vatican Insider . Here is a portion.

*****
Today's homily was inspired by the story of Eleazar in the Book of the Maccabees. Eleazar , faced with the choice between apostasy and fidelity has no doubts,  rejecting pretence, pretence of mercy, of fake religiosity ...  Indeed, instead of worrying about himself, he thinks of the young people of those for whom his act of courage could leave a memorable impression. He chooses martyrdom in keeping with his faith in the Lord. Sacrificing one's life is better than obtaining salvation through hypocrisy. 

Pope Francis drew attention to the consistency of this man, the consistency of his faith, but also the responsibility of leaving behind a noble legacy, [a] true legacy. We live in a time in which the elderly do not count. It's a horrible thing to say, but they are discarded, is it not so? Why bother with them. The elderly people are the ones who carry history within them, who bring us doctrine, who bring us the faith and give it to us as a legacy. They are the ones who, like the good old wine, they have this inner strength to give us a noble inheritance.

In relation to this, the Pope recalled a story he heard as a child.The protagonist is a family - dad, mum, many children - and a grandfather, who when he ate soup at the table dirtied his face. Annoyed, the father buys a coffee table to isolate his parent. One day that same dad comes home and sees one of the children playing with wood. What are you making? he asks. A table, replied the child."And why? For you, Dad, for when you get old like Grandpa.

Francis said this story was a good lesson. Grandparents are a treasure. The Letter to the Hebrews, the twelfth chapter tells us: Remember your leaders, who have preached to you, those who have preached the Word of God. And considering their outcome imitate their faith.  The memory of our ancestors brings us to the imitation of faith. 

At times old age many is a little hard, is it not?
Francis asked. The illnesses that it brings and all that, but the wisdom that our grandparents custody is the legacy that we must receive. A people who do not cherish their grandparents, a people who do not meet their grandparents, has no future, because it has no memory, it has lost its memory.  We will do well to think of the many old and elderly people, many who are in nursing homes, and even many - it is the ugly word, but let's say it - who are abandoned to themselves. They are the treasure of our society

We pray for our grandfathers, our grandmothers, who often have had a heroic role in the transmission of the faith in times of persecution. When mum and dad were not at home and also had strange idea, that the policies of that time taught, the grandmothers were the ones who passed on the faith, Francis said.

Francis concluded his homily with a comment on the fourth commandment: it is the only one that promises something in return. It is the commandment of mercy. Be compassionate with our ancestors. Today let us petition the old Saints - Simeone, Anna, Polycarp and Eleazar - so many old Saints: Let us ask for the grace to cherish, to listen to and venerate our elderly, our grandparents.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

Marriage and Holiness: Pope Marries Twenty Couples on the Exaltation of the Cross Watch

Image of One of the twenty couples who exchanged their vows in the presence of Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Much of the Press, including circles of the Catholic Press, focused on the unique path which some of the couples followed to the Sacrament of Marriage; even though they had all arrived at the Altar, offering their love to the Source of all true Love, for ... continue reading


Pope Francis Gives Impassioned Plea for an End to War: What Does it Matter to Me? Watch

Image of Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia September 13, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

By Catholic Online

With this - What does it matter to me?-  in their hearts, the merchants of war perhaps have made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to cry.  That - What does it matter to me?- prevents the tears.  Cain did not ... continue reading


SOLVED AT LAST: DNA testing nails Polish emigre as JACK THE RIPPER! Watch

Image of Aaron Kosminski, inset, a hopelessly insane Polish immigrant - unable to care for himself and left in the care of relatives - was able to successfully evade justice as the dreaded Jack the Ripper of 19th Century London.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

London's most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper or "Springheel Jack" slashed and killed five prostitutes in the Whitechapel district in the 1880s. Never caught, countless theories sprung up over his identity through the 100-plus years. Some postulations ... continue reading


Rare U.S. coin discovered in Britain could fetch well above a million dollars at auction Watch

Image of Amateur treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stoner had just begun to search a field in Nottinghamshire, England when he made a most remarkable discovery --

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Amateur treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stoner had just begun to search a field in Nottinghamshire, England when he made a most remarkable discovery. He uncovered a 350-year-old threepenny coin, used by America's Pilgrim Fathers. The rare coin is expected to ... continue reading


What is this mysterious ring in the Danish countryside and from whence did it come? Watch

Image of The Viking forts found so far in Denmark all match this particular style, which may mirror earlier Roman camps used in England.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists working in Denmark have discovered a distinctive ring-shaped Viking fortress, which is thought by some historians to have been used to launch an invasion of England. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fortress was found on Zealand, a Danish ... continue reading


Pope Francis Reminds Us the Church is Our Mother Watch

Image of St. Peters

By Pope Francis

The Church is our mother because she has delivered us in Baptism. Whenever a child is baptized, he becomes a son of the Church, from that day, he is in the Church which cares for him as a caring mother, she makes us grow in faith and shows us, with the power of ... continue reading


Where can they go? A million Ukrainians have fled their war-torn country Watch

Image of Ukrainian refugees at a Russian train station.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations has reported that the conflict in Ukraine, which began back in February 2014, has uprooted more than a million people, with even further mass displacement feared as fighting continues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The total includes ... continue reading


Archaeologists find a very different type of 'treasure' - a 2,000-year-old toilet seat Watch

Image of Discovered at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accustomed to finding priceless coins, artwork and historical artifacts, archaeologists in Great Britain have found an altogether different type of treasure - one that was desperately needed in ancient times - a wooden toilet seat, believed to be 2,000 years ... continue reading


Over 1,400 girls raped and abused by Muslims in English town Watch

Image of For more than 12 years a large community of Pakistanis living in England have enjoyed sexually abusing girls while officials turned a blind eye a new report reveals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over a 12 year period, hundreds of children were systematically raped, beaten and sex trafficked in a northern English town, and the government commissioned report on the incident reveals that it is still going on today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Guilty? Corruption case moves forward against the head of International Monetary Fund Watch

Image of Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, who is facing charges currently in France.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and one of the most powerful women in the world, has been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as a French finance minister. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
31 Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35
31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 17th, 2014 Image

St. Robert Bellarmine
September 17: Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter